Hands Across Borders • Scout Troops Make 3D Printed Hands


What do Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Venture Scouts, Sea Scouts and American Heritage Girls have in common? They all spend a whole lot of time participating in activities that help their local communities…from litter pick up at the local Fair, knitting sweaters and making toys for pets at the local animal shelters, planting trees, scrubbing moss off of Veteran’s gravestones to gathering food for the local food banks and so much more.

These groups are always searching for a way to get these young people involved in making the world a little better place and now they are working to not only help those in their own local communities – but we have some troops in Maryland who have embarked on a mission to help make a difference in the lives of people who are clear across the world!

Maria Esquela and her daughter Sarah attended our “Prosthetists Meets Printers” conference in September and were inspired to take it a step further… they have started gathering the troops in Baltimore, Maryland to put together hand making workshops with the help of Dr. Albert Chi, a world renowned trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. 


The hands that these youngsters and their troop leaders are making – will be sent across the ocean to doctors and medical staff who distribute devices and fit them to patients there as well as to child refugees who have been disfigured by war.


They have had their first assembly workshop on 11.1.14 and Maria writes:
” We had our first assembly workshop yesterday. The scouts were helpful managing it but it cannot be said that they ran it. We worked on 19 hands. It was held at the Baltimore Robotics Center and attended by American Heritage Girls, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venture Scouts. There were non-scouters from the community as well as from the maker community, interfaith/faith-based organizations (National Association of Muslim Americans on Scouting, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh Greek Byzantine Committee on Scouting and Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic Committee on Scouting), and people Sarah and I met at the TedX talks in Baltimore the day before. The focus was working on the assembly process and mixing ages/generations in the builds. Good family response. Good promotion of STEM. Reached a lot of girls.”


This coming weekend, on Saturday, November 22nd, they will have another “hand-a-thon” build day where they will be assembling wrist driven e-NABLE hand devices as well as numerous RIT arms to send back with the medical team.

They were not intending to get to make a device for a local child during these events but it turned out that one of the scouts in their area who currently has a commercially made $40,000 Myo-electric arm – is unable to use the device and they will be helping him to make an e-NABLE arm instead.

Maria writes: “Participants at the November 22nd workshop will include 12 year old Christian and his family. Their Scoutmaster heard a presentation I gave at our county meeting last week. The family contacted me Friday. We included the Scout in our workshop with Dr. Chi on Sunday as our case model. Printing started on his hand before we left and he and his family made a hand at the workshop immediately following our visit to the Chi lab. They made a hand for someone else and they get their own tonight. Since they were present for the knowledge transfer on arm assembly, they are helping in the group – making arms at the workshop on the 22nd.”

These troops are coming together to create hands for numerous children who have been affected by the war and poverty – and they are once again able to help in their own community…and Christian will not only be helping to make his own hand, but will be teaching others how to make them for even more people. Just. Incredible.


They will continue to make hands during two more build dates on November 28th and December 13th and during the week long visit from the Medical team and could use your help!

Want to help them make a difference where it is needed? Have some spare filament and want to do something that will literally change a life with it?

They are in need of hand kits to be printed and mailed to them so that their scout troops can assemble them and any kits that are not assembled before the team heads back to their locations – will be sent to them for their medical staff to assemble as needed.

What they need:
• Hand kits printed and shipped (not assembled) in ziplock bags, labeled with their size and either left or right hand.
• Files can be found here: http://enablingthefuture.org/upper-limb-prosthetics/the-raptor-hand/
• They need sizes printed at 115% 125%, 130%, 135%, 140% and 145% in all different colors!
• Unassembled hand print kits can be mailed to:
Patronage Church
ATTN: Fr. Conan / Scouts e-NABLE
1260 Stevens Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21277

For more information and to make a donation to help provide the hardware, velcro, fishing line and padding – please visit their Event page.

“Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much.” – Hellen Keller